JANUARY 25, 2005

What is going on with Kimi Raikkonen?

We do not generally report on the private lives of the Formula 1 team drivers (nor for that matter the team principal) however the recent adventures of Kimi Raikkonen took over the launch of the McLaren-Mercedes yesterday and thus one has to ask whether or not this is going to have any effect on the driver or on the McLaren team.

In November Raikkonen was photographed on the island of Gran Canaria, obviously rather worse for drink. He later apologised for his behaviour. One would have thought that this would be the end of the matter and that drivers in the modern era would learn from their mistakes and be a little more discreet about their activities but last weekend a British newspaper alleged another series of saucy revelations about Kimi getting drunk and wild in a lap-dancing club called For Your Eyes Only in London's swanky Mayfair district.

"I'm aware of the coverage," said McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, "and it's not welcome. We have to establish the truth. The perception is extremely negative. We have multi-national brands who sponsor McLaren and who don't want to get involved in this kind of imagery. We will take whatever steps for Kimi to understand the seriousness of the situation."

Raikkonen is reported to have said that what he gets up to in his private life is his business and that it has no effect on whether he is a quick racing driver or not.

The press coverage does, however, add to the pressures in his life which is not perhaps what he needs when he is trying to concentrate his efforts on winning races and the World Championship.

If that does not affect him then it is just a matter of what the sponsors think of his antics.